Sermons

Summary: CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY OF A PHYSICAL HEAVEN.

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HEAVEN IS A PHYSICAL PLACE

LUKE 16:19-31

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT THE QUESTION “IS HEAVEN A PHYSICAL PLACE?”

THERE IS SOME CONTROVERSY OVER THIS ISSUE. SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT HEAVEN IS ON AN ENTIRELY SPIRITUAL REALM WITH NO PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS AT ALL. THERE IS A THOUGHT THAT IF HEAVEN WERE A PHYSICAL PLACE THAT IT WOULD BE LESS SPIRITUAL.

THERE IS A BELIEF THAT BECAUSE GOD DWELLS IN HEAVEN, AND THAT BECAUSE GOD IS SPIRIT AS JOHN 4:24 STATES, THEN HEAVEN ITSELF MUST BE A SPIRITUAL PLACE. THE MISTAKE MADE IS THAT HEAVEN AND GOD ARE LOOKED ON AS EQUALS IN THE SENSE THAT BOTH ARE SPIRITUAL, BUT THERE IS A GREAT DIFFERENCE IN SAYING THAT GOD IS SPIRITUAL AND THAT HEAVEN IS A SPIRITUAL PLACE.

GOD CREATED HEAVEN, AND CHOOSES TO DWELL THERE. GOD DID NOT CREATE HEAVEN FOR HIMSELF. HE DIDN’T NEED IT. THE FACT IS THAT GOD CREATED HEAVEN FOR US TO LIVE WITH HIM.

RANDY ALCORN STATES:

“IT IS NO PROBLEM FOR THE ALL-POWERFUL GOD, A SPIRIT, TO DWELL IN A SPIRITUAL REALM OR A PHYSICAL REALM, OR A REALM THAT INCLUDES BOTH.”

THE ESSENTIAL QUESTION IS NOW WHERE GOD IS GOING TO BE FOR ETERNITY, BUT WHAT KIND OF ETERNAL ENVIRONMENT DO WE AS HUMANS REQUIRE? DO WE NEED A PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT OR CAN WE EXIST ETERNALLY IN AN ENVIRONMENT WITHOUT ANY PHYSICAL PROPERTIES?

BEFORE WE CAN ASK WHETHER HEAVEN WILL OR WILL NOT HAVE PHYSICAL PROPERTIES, WE MUST FIRST DETERMINE WHAT ARE WE SPEAKING OF WHEN WE TALK OF HEAVEN?

LET’S START WITH DETERMINING HOW MANY HEAVENS THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF?

THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS THREE.

1. THE FIRST HEAVEN: IS THE BLUE SKY OVERHEAD. ITS WHERE THE BIRDS FLY.

2. THE SECOND HEAVEN IS WHAT WE REFER TO AS OUTER SPACE.

3. THE THIRD HEAVEN IS WHERE OUR SOULS AS CHRISTIANS GO WHEN WE DIE.

PAUL SPEAKS OF THE THIRD HEAVEN:

2 CORINTHIANS 12:2: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know— God knows.”

I WANT TO INTRODUCE A NEW THOUGHT TO YOU TODAY. WHEN WE SPEAK AS CHRISTIANS OF WHERE WE WILL BE FOR ETERNITY, IT WILL INVOLVE TWO PLACES:

1. INTERMEDIATE HEAVEN

2. THE NEW EARTH

WHAT THEN IS THE NATURE OF INTERMEDIATE HEAVEN?

RANDY ALCORN STATES:

“WHEN A CHRISTIAN DIES, HE OR SHE ENTERS INTO WHAT THEOLOGIANS CALL THE INTERMEDIATE STATE, A TRANSITIONAL PERIOD BETWEEN OUR PAST LIVES ON EARTH AND OUR FUTURE RESURRECTION TO LIFE ON THE NEW EARTH… BY DEFINITION, AN INTERMEDIATE STATE OR LOCATION IS TEMPORARY.”

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS. WHEN WE AS CHRISTIANS SAY “WE’RE GOING TO “HEAVEN” WHEN WE DIE,” THE HEAVEN THAT WE ARE REFERRING TO, IS THE INTERMEDIATE HEAVEN. IT IS WHERE WE WILL AWAIT THE TIME OF CHRIST’S RETURN TO THE EARTH, OUR BODILY RESURRECTION, THE FINAL JUDGMENTS, AND THE CREATION OF THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH.

I WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND A FEW THINGS ABOUT THE INTERMEDIATE HEAVEN.

1. THIS IS NOT WHAT SOME PEOPLE KNOW AS PERGATORY. THERE IS NO SUCH PLACE MENTIONED IN SCRIPTURE AS PERGATORY, AND, THIS BELIEF DOES NOT IN ANY WAY FOLLOW THE BELIEFS ASSOCIATED WITH PERGATORY. LET ME BE PERFECTLY CLEAR ABOUT THIS, INTERMEDIATE HEAVEN IS NOT PERGATORY.


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